Dan Berezny is an encyclopedia of Flint history, especially when it comes to sports. Berezny’s sports journey started early on, playing any sport available through Community Education, and playing in the Greater Flint Olympian and CANUSA Games in the 1960s.
He was able to reunite with the Games in 1974 as a college student. He worked each summer in the CANUSA Games office as a “Gopher,” or someone paid to run errands and do page work. He loved it so much that he said, “It’s a job I would have done for free but they paid me to do it! It’s what made me want to come back and be a Community School Director.” And that’s what he did. After two years at Mott College and two at Central Michigan, Berezny worked in multiple buildings as a Director, also handling community sports for those areas.
Because of this work, he became passionate about kids, getting to know them, and helping them make good decisions. Since 1977, Dan has been part of a core group that has kept the Greater Flint Olympian Games & CANUSA Games going. In addition to his professional life in education, he was also Chairman of the Games many times. He said, “It really isn’t summer without the Games. It would be like summer with no Fourth of July.”
He went on to say that the Games are about more than just creating great athletes. He said, “The Games are about giving kids access to an opportunity. Not just to play sports but to become good people, leaders. The philosophy is that when these athletes cross the border to Hamilton they make friends and understand another culture. That’s our best hope for peace. Sports are just the vehicle.”
Berezny spent the rest of his career in education, retiring as a Flint School Principal in 2013. He said that he will never forget where he came from and that it’s been a privilege to impact so many young lives. He’s proud of CANUSA’s sixty-year legacy and said he hopes that with the Crim’s dedicated partnership, the games will still be around sixty years from now.
“The Crim and City of Flint was honored to host the 2018 CANUSA Games. Having the Canadian athletes here is one of my favorite memories and we can’t wait to do it again!” – Sharon Davenport